I say upfront, I am utterly biased in favor of Patricia Briggs books. So biased in fact, that at the Mysterious Galaxy March 15, 2014 signing event for latest offering in the Mercy Thompson series, Night Broken, Patty laughingly thanked me for actively funding the college education of her children by my repeated purchases of her series.
When it comes to a Brigg’s book, a conversation about the series almost always ends with me purchasing books to replace the set that mysteriously disappears from my bookshelf after a visiting bookworm reads the back cover. The Mercy Thompson series is the most “forever-borrowed” set of books I’ve ever owned. Even my own mother smuggled the first three books out of my apartment in her suitcase at the end of a visit. She also managed to abscond with two books from Patty’s back-list in her purse; but I caught her at the airport and managed to recover my treasures (yes, I realize I sounded a wee bit Gollum-ish there). At last count, I’ve purchased the Mercy Thompson series ten times and the Alpha and Omega series five times. That being said, this post is a fan-girl rave.
The bookstore filled relatively quickly with avid fans; so quickly in fact all the seats were barely set up before they were full.
When Patty arrived expecting to have a few minutes before the signing to shop, her audience was captive and waiting. She took a few moments to gather her own pile of books to purchase, then took a few moments to sign some book stock and items for people working the signing — me included, minion of the Patrick remember — before settling in to share her latest Mercy offering with the delighted crowd.
While climbing on top of the podium for better seating and audience viewing, Patty expressed a conviction that she was sure Jim Butcher (also known for a preference for sitting atop the podium upon occasion) achieved his perch with a much more stated grace. As a previous member of a Butcher audience, I’d have to say he doesn’t manage it with either the same humor or joie de vi·vre so she has no worries.
After telling the audience that her intention to read from a new piece had been thwarted by it not making it to the bookstore with her (how dare that story not make itself available) she selected a reading from Night Broken to share. Patty skillfully picked a section that was both funny and insightful all without giving any spoilers as to what came before or after; thereby guaranteeing those yet to read the book would immediately proceed to do so at the earliest opportunity. As with previous Mercy Thompson books, a little taste of the material just makes you want to devour the rest.
She followed the reading by answering questions about her writing process, explained her views on short stories v full length novels …think hockey precision skating drills v perfecting a great short program. She revealed one of the things she likes about writing novels: “it’s like real life not black and white; there are lots of shades of grey.” She went on to explain, there are so few submissive wolves in her world because in real life it’s those that struggle rather than roll over that usually make it through.”
Patty also announced that her next release would be a compilation of all previous short stories as well as new stories from the Mercy world.
The short stories will include: one on how Bran and Samuel became werewolves, one his mother the witch – described as the only truly sad story she’s ever written – as well as the story about Cara (the little girl who turned into a werewolf) and of course a Mercy story, “because you can’t have a collection without a Mercy story.” She stated the book would be about a 50/50 split including all the previous short stories and the new.
The excitement about more stories focusing on previously mentioned (even briefly) or main cast but not leading characters just demonstrates exactly how well Patty’s writing pulls you in and makes the characters matter.
After the reading and Q&A period, all the attendees shuffled out of the store (this was a numbered signing) to line up to wait their turn to meet the ever-so delightful Patty Briggs. As often, is the case, Mike, husband to Patty, took time to walk the line and “schmooze” the waiting fans.
If you’ve never had the opportunity to speak with him then you are truly missing out. He’s completely brilliant and just down right funny. A few minutes of conversation and you realize you’re dealing with a wonder duo in Patty & Mike. His stories are from the perspective of someone who gets to see the process of producing and maintaining this world we love so while balancing life in the real world. Just don’t suggest any housing renovation projects – trust me… Everyone in line who got the opportunity to speak with him was treated to hilarity and didn’t mind the wait one bit.
For those of you out there yet to read anything by Patricia Briggs, it should be said her Mercy Thompson and Alpha and Omega book series builds on each other and is best read in order. The story lines are involved, the character development intertwined and world building certainly make much more sense (and are far more enthralling) if you take Mercy’s journey with her starting in Moon Called. It’s a rich and vibrant world populated with likable (or seriously despicable when needed) characters you become invested in quickly and permanently. I do however suggest, you NOT read my review of Night Broken unless you don’t mind light spoilers. This world is so developed it’s not possible to discuss the new without giving away previous plot and story arcs. I DO suggest you make your way to your favorite book purchasing location (hopefully your local independent bookstore) and get yourself a copy of the first book and settle in for a great read – you might want to have the second book on hand because you won’t want to stop.